Ludwigia Palustris: Ultimate Care Guide


Hardy, colorful, and easy to propagate, Ludwigia Palustris is a popular aquarium plant which is ideal for midground planting in display tanks. This plant also grows emersed which gives you more planting choices including placement in paludariums. While it’s easy to grow it can be a challenge to achieve the vivid coloration it’s known for. Depending on type, growing in bright light can encourage this plant to take on bright green or red colors. It’s possible to get this coloration over the entire plant, but in many tanks it will take on two different colors: one on the upper parts which are closer to light, and a second, darker color on lower parts.

With the right care and trimming this is a rewarding plant which can brighten up your aquascape. Expect frequent trimming, especially if it’s grown in bright light. Ludwigia Palustris can grow very quickly and is classified as an invasive species is some parts of the world. Frequent trimming can help you adjust growth patterns to fit your tank’s size and aquascape needs. This plant doesn’t usually flower when submersed. When emersed it will produce small flowers above water, but these aren’t particularly notable. This isn’t the best plant to get if you are searching for something with impressive blooms.

Ludwigia Palustris Care

Ludwigia Palustris has simple care needs but wants extra attention for best results. This is a hardy and easy to grow plant but there are some facts you’ll need when caring for this popular aquarium plant. We’ve assembled this guide to show you all you’ll need to know when adding this tough and colorful plant to your aquarium!

Ludwigia Palustris
Ludwigia Palustris. Edited. Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0.

Are Ludwigia Palustris easy to grow?

Ludwigia Palustris very easy to grow but getting the right coloration will need extra attention to lighting and sometimes Co2 injection. While this plant will grow with lower light, it grows best in medium to bright light. Bright light, and sometimes Co2 injection, are needed to get the most vivid coloration. Ludwigia Palustris is also easy to propagate, and stem cuttings will root easily when placed in substrate.

Lighting Requirement

While Ludwigia Palustris only needs 8 to 10 hours of moderate light to grow, but providing bright light can give this plant a growth boost and promote bright red foliage. Bright tank lighting can lead to increased algae growth, so you’ll need to take extra steps to keep this under control. Adding Co2 injection can help to reduce algae growth and can also help this plant produce red colored foliage. Another choice is including aquarium species capable of eating large amounts of algae such as the Amano Shrimp. For best growth, you’ll want full spectrum lighting: there are lots of full spectrum LED lights for sale which allow brightness adjustments and some even include timers.

Temperature

Capable of adapting to a variety of temperatures, Ludwigia Palustris will be happy in most tank environments.

pH Requirement

Ludwigia Palustris does best in mostly neutral water with a pH range between 6.5 and 7.5.

Growth Rate

Ludwigia Palustris is capable of fast growth with the right mix of Co2 injection, lighting, and fertilization. With moderate lighting and little to no fertilization, you can expect moderate growth. With bright light, fertilization, and Co2 injection this plant can grow surprisingly fast! This species often needs lots of trimming, both to keep it from taking over your tank, and also to encourage shorter and bushier growth when used as a midground plant.

Ludwigia Palustris
Ludwigia Palustris. Edited. Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Growth Height

Ludwigia Palustris usually grows to between 4 inches and a foot tall in most aquariums. Growth can be increased depending on lighting, fertilization, and the presence of Co2 injection. Height can be controlled with trimming. This plant is tough and won’t mind having the tops of stems removed. Removing stem tops will decrease height and encourage thicker lateral growth.

Co2 Requirement

While Co2 injection isn’t necessary for Ludwigia Palustris to grow it can result in faster growth and redder foliage. Many images on the Internet show this plant as having bright red leafs and stems, but this is often the result of bright light and added Co2. When grown in moderate light without the addition of Co2, Ludwigia Palustris tends to have dark green leaves with a reddish tint. If your aim is to achieve bright red colors, you’ll need additional Co2 along with bright lighting. If you’re adding this plant to an established tank which includes fish don’t overdo Co2. Fish need oxygen, and adding too much Co2 can cause them to raise to upper tank levels in search of oxygenated water. At extreme concentrations, Co2 can cause your fish to suffocate.

There is one situation where you can add as much Co2 as you want: during a wet start. A wet start can allow you to establish a planted aquarium before adding fish. Since fish aren’t included with wet starts you’re free to increase Co2 concentrations to any level you want. Ludwigia Palustris can benefit from a wet start which includes bright lighting, fertilization, and heavy Co2 injection. This can help it develop bright red foliage and establish a strong root system. When you’re ready to add fish, lighting and Co2 can be reduced to normal levels.

Propagation

Ludwigia Palustris is easily propagated from cuttings which can be planted in substrate to root. When trimming this plant, extra cuttings don’t need to be discarded but can be placed in new areas of your tank. These trimmings won’t have roots, so you’ll need to add plant weights to keep these cuttings down in substrate. This is especially necessary if you have large fish which can nip at or dig and dislodge plants.

Can you grow Ludwigia Palustris emersed?

In its natural environment, Ludwigia Palustris often grows emersed. This is an easy plant for home hobbyists to grow emersed. Even though it’s intended for aquariums, commercial producers will often grow this plant emersed to save money. If you want to grow Ludwigia Palustris emersed all that is necessary is to keep its roots in moist or boggy soil. When transferring from fully submersed growing to emersed, this plant can experience temporary dying of foliage known as “melting.” Melting is common when underwater plants are moved to emersed growing conditions and vice versa. This condition is temporary and will reverse itself as the plant becomes accustomed to its new growing environment.

Do Ludwigia Palustris flower?

Ludwigia Palustris won’t usually flower when grown fully submersed in an aquarium. When grown emersed this plant will produce tiny flowers. This isn’t a plant known for its flowers as they are small and not visually impressive. The only time flowers are produced in an aquarium is when the plant grows tall enough to send stems and leafs above the water line. Only growth above the water line is capable of flowering.

Where can I find Ludwigia Palustris for sale?

Ludwigia Palustris is available from online suppliers, and occasionally, local fish stores. Expect to pay between $9 USD to $13 USD per bunch. This plant is also sold for gardens and ponds, but it’s best to purchase it from sources which supply plants to aquarium hobbyists.

Ludwigia Palustris Types

Ludwigia Palustris has a number of types or varieties available. Some of these may be cultivars, which are clones of a certain plant with specific desirable traits. Size is said to vary between these types, but this can be controlled on any plant of this species with trimming. If you are looking to achieve a certain color, getting the right type can help. Here are some of the top choices you’ll find for this popular aquarium plant!

Ludwigia Palustris Super Red

Ludwigia Palustris Super Red will turn red easier than regular Ludwigia Palustris. Bright lighting and Co2 injection may still be needed for best color even with this variety. If your goal is to have vibrantly red foliage, this variety is your best choice.

Ludwigia Palustris Green

Ludwigia Palustris Green has vivid green foliage without a hint of red unlike other Ludwigia Palustris varieties. This variety need medium to high light for best growth and coloration. Without enough light, this variety will be green, but may not appear as vividly green as possible.

Ludwigia Palustris Mini Super Red

Ludwigia Palustris Mini Super Red is a variety of Ludwigia Palustris which is marketed to hobbyists looking for a more compact Super Red variety. This may be a marketing name, and it’s possible that this is the same variety as Ludwigia Palustris Super Red. Shorter and more compact growth with this or any variety can be achieved with frequent trimming. Like other varieties, this needs bright lighting to achieve the brightest red coloration.

Ludwigia Palustris vs Ludwigia Repens

Ludwigia Palustris and Ludwigia Repens are both similar plants, but Repens has a shorter leaf stem and tends to have more irregular colors. Palustris plants can be more uniform in color which is important if you’re trying achieve bright red coloration across the entire plant.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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